Ever since I fell in love with the site Becoming Minimalist shortly before the end of 2014, I’d vowed to seriously re-evaluated the term “sentimental” as it affected our belongings and now I’m realizing, my life and everything in it.
I’ve always been pretty good about sticking to a budget and keeping a house orderly and tidy. Mom loved throwing stuff out (though her music books and piano sheets wasn’t organized so well), and so, decluttering always came easily to me.
In 2014, the Vietnam Veterans picked up our stuff five times. In 2013, it was twice that much. (I don’t get it… the more I throw, the more stuff there is?) As a second time mom now to a tot, it’s easy to get distracted by all the additional stuff. But my goal of 2015, is to really transition to a minimalist life.
And because we are planning to move to a bigger place come June, I do NOT want to bring any more stuff with me. I actually though I had the situation under control. Until I realized there was much more than meets the eye. So here’s what I’ve actually been doing to transition with ease and grace to an even more minimalist lifestyle:
1. The well-known advice to start small helps. Then, I attack each pile and really feel each item in my hand. After a few seconds, I connect with my heart space, and I know instantly, if that item is meant to stay or go. I used to be very indecisive about this, but now I am ruthless. Areas and items I once breezed over, I am now steathily looking over with a fine toothed comb. This same principle can be applied to writing. You don’t attack an entire project. You write one sentence, paragraph or scene at a time.
2. I declutter all the time. I don’t wait for the perfect moment. Weekends obviously are good “project” times, but even with 15 minutes, I can “attack” a shelf, a drawer, part of a medicine cabinet. It’s amazing how much clutter can accumulate in the places you usually take for granted. You’ll be amazed how much energy you’ll have to attack the next drawer! Serious writers don’t have time to wait to write. They also know that if something’s getting in their way, they have to re-examine what it is they’re doing, to regain focus.
3. I enlist the help of my son. Today for example, I challenged my son to find 10 things he didn’t need, want or wear anymore. This took him approximately 10 minutes to do. If my 10 year can find 10 things in 10 minutes, then I challenge you to do the same. This is also a teachable moment for him. He’s learning the importance of getting by more with less. he’s learning that happiness does not lie in accumulating “stuff.” Similarly, writers need to also know when they are ‘enough” without also looking for external validation. Here’s a post that reinforces this important message.
4. I connect to my feelings. How would it feel to finally open that kitchen drawer and not see any clutter? Similarly, how would you feel as a writer to get clear on that project? How would you feel if you would write that difficult scene with care without rushing to get your story published?
What started with just a few bags for the Vietnam Veterans is now almost half a hallway! Today I threw out more stuff than I could image and all because I didn’t get too attached to any sentiments! And the funny thing is… I don’t feel any sentiments about any of the stuff out there!
Declutter is a writing tip. Here’s my answer in the form of a “tweet:
As a writer, we tend to hold unto things. We don’t want to learn new skills or attack that nasty revision.
Writers need space and room to grow. Make space for the new applies to writers. Writers are at their best when they still connect to their “creative genius.” I thrive when creativity flows through me. I need to feel lighter all the time. When I feel stuck, I feel I’m clinging unto something. That’s when I take a step back, and re-examine the clutter. It works almost every time.
I always let the magic of decluttering happen by resting 12 hours after a major decluttering session. There’s room for miracles!
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